I saw a forlorn tweet the other day, saying “we found Jill Meagher, now let’s find …..” using the name of another missing person.
Occasional retweets of the plea bobbed like flotsam in my timeline for a while, then became lost in a torrent of condemnation over Alan Jones’ appalling comments about the Prime Minister’s father.
Like many others that weekend, I joined the campaign to make Jones feel the material consequences of his derogatory remarks. I was heartened to see so many people rouse themselves above the level of petition-whore slacktivist and actively contact 2GB advertisers by phone, email, Twitter and Facebook. It was a striking example of genuine People Power, a sharp-edged reminder that — when provoked — public sentiment can transform from slumbering shaggy dog to noble protector or slavering jag-toothed beast in the click of a news cycle.
At the same time, I felt ashamed that we weren’t rallying for the person who asked Twitter to help locate just one more of the 35,000 people reported missing in Australia every year: just one of the loved ones reported missing every 15 minutes.